My HormonologyWhich week are you on in your cycle?

Week 1
First day of period to Day 7
Today’s hormone-cast: Rising estrogen is making you more curious about people, events and your future. This may lead you to do free background checks (for instance, on criminalsearches.com), look someone up on Facebook, check out local happenings on Craigslist or even consult a psychic or Tarot card reader.

Week 2
Day 8 to Day 13
Today’s hormone-cast: You may be getting a double-dose of spring fever as estrogen and testosterone reach their cycle-long highs and the time is about to change for many of us on March 14, leading to longer, warmer days. As a result, you may be itching to plan a trip, launch a project, do spring cleaning or do anything else that shakes off the winter doldrums.

Week 3
Day 14 (or ovulation) to Day 22
Today’s hormone-cast: Can’t resist a little sugar today as rising progesterone amps up your cravings for sweets? Well, here’s one benefit of indulging in cake, chocolate, ice cream or other sweet delights: sugar helps you make better decisions! In a new University of South Dakota study, volunteers who drank a sweetened soda made decisions that had more favorable outcomes than those who drank a diet soda, reports the journal Psychological Science. The brain uses sugar as fuel, so a higher level of sugar right before making a big decision—such as whether to go for a new job or move to a new city—gives us more energy to think of the big picture and future consequences, which leads us to make the better decision, the researchers conclude.

Week 4
Day 23 to the end of cycle
Today’s hormone-cast: If you hate menstrual cramps, here’s a reminder about an easy technique you can do this week to lessen them or prevent them altogether in Week 1: pop one to three ibuprofen (such as Motrin and Advil) on the three days leading up to the first day of your period. If you’re not sure when that is, you can guesstimate; just be sure not to exceed recommended dosage on the label. Why it works? Ibuprofen has been proven to block the buildup of prostaglandins, hormone-like chemicals that cause the pain of menstrual cramps. No prostaglandins=no cramp pain! I’ve been using this trick for years and haven’t suffered a single menstrual cramp. And mine used to be real doozies! I usually only need one ibuprofen per day for this to work, but I have friends who need three. Experiment with what works best for you. But, again, no exceeding the recommended dosage since it can cause stomach bleeding and serious liver problems.